Mental health care is virtually as critical as physical care. It is not uncommon to hear stories of people suffering tragic events because of the lack of adequate psychiatric care. Fortunately, Maryland is the home of many fantastic mental healthcare professionals. When a person seeks treatment from a psychiatrist or other mental healthcare professional, they anticipate that the care they will receive will be up to professional standards.
In cases where a psychiatrist or other mental health professional does not meet the acceptable standard of care, they could be guilty of medical negligence. Our Maryland psychiatric malpractice lawyer is dedicated to helping those harmed by medical negligence seek financial compensation through a lawsuit. Call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free consultation.
What is Psychiatric Malpractice in Maryland?
People have some understanding of Maryland medical malpractice claims – misdiagnosing cancer or operating on the wrong leg. However, many people might not realize that psychiatric malpractice could also result from a medical professional’s negligence or carelessness. If you are receiving mental health treatment, your psychiatrist or mental health care practitioner must adhere to a standard of care during your treatment. If your condition continues to worsen or your behavior leads to additional symptoms or injuries, you could have been the victim of psychiatric malpractice. The anguish and pain from inadequate mental health care could result in severe and unexpected consequences.
Mental health issues are not always concrete and are much more abstract than physical health problems. Therefore, establishing fault when you allege psychiatric malpractice is challenging. Our experienced Maryland medical malpractice attorneys bring years of experience handling complicated psychiatric malpractice lawsuits.
Examples of Malpractice by Psychiatrists Under Maryland Law
Not every situation where someone’s mental health fails to improve is a case of malpractice. However, it is crucial to have our Maryland psychiatric malpractice lawyer working on your behalf to build a case against a mental healthcare professional or facility. Some of the common allegations that constitute psychiatric malpractice are listed below.
- Sexual abuse or assault during a psychiatric session
- Mental or emotional abuse by the treating healthcare provider
- Willfully abandoning a patient during a crucial portion of their treatment
- Purposefully withholding prescriptions or mistakenly prescribing the incorrect medication
- Failing to maintain the confidential doctor-patient relationship
- Misdiagnosing or not diagnosing a mental disorder or condition
The above is only a small sample of behavior that could constitute psychiatric malpractice. If you believe you have suffered any harm through either intentional conduct or negligence, contact our Maryland psychiatric malpractice attorney to start evaluating your case.
Suing for Suicide Caused by Psychiatric Malpractice in Maryland
A Maryland psychiatrist’s responsibility towards their patient will vary from case to case, depending on the patient’s condition and the level of care required given their mental state. In terms of suicide or self-harm, a psychiatrist is not required to predict that it will occur, but they should be capable of assessing whether the patient is exhibiting signs of the potential risk of self-harm or suicide.
Mental health practitioners are supposed to take steps if they see signs of suicidal ideation or suicide risk. If they are presented with a foreseeable risk of injury and did not take appropriate steps to intervene, they could be responsible for malpractice.
For instance, a psychiatrist could be guilty of malpractice if they failed to notice that a patient presents a physical risk to themselves or others. In some situations, a mental health provider would document a suicide risk assessment but fail to follow up or document additional attempts. Furthermore, not thoroughly evaluating a patient’s environment could place them in an unreasonably risky position.
There are also times where a psychiatrist must warn a third party if there is an imminent threat of bodily harm to them. If you were injured because a therapist or psychiatrist failed to warn you that their patient intended to harm you, our Maryland psychiatric malpractice attorney will provide professional and sympathetic legal representation.
Proving Liability in a Psychiatric and Counseling Malpractice Lawsuit in Maryland
When you file a lawsuit arising out of psychiatric or counseling malpractice, you must establish four elements to prove negligence.
First, there must have been a duty of care arising from a therapist-client or doctor-patient relationship. Without establishing that a duty of care existed, you cannot prevail in a lawsuit. Typically, if you were being treated by the practitioner on a regular basis, this duty did indeed exist.
The critical part of nearly every malpractice claim is proving that the treating psychiatrist or mental health care practitioner breached the duty of care. To prove this, our Maryland psychiatric malpractice lawyer will have to establish that the conduct or decisions made deviated from what a reasonable professional with similar credentials would have done under comparable circumstances. Generally, the use of expert testimony from other mental health professionals is used to demonstrate this element.
The misconduct on the part of the psychiatrist or mental health professional must have caused your harm or injury. For example, if your psychiatrist ignored statements that a loved one wanted to harm themselves, then they did harm themselves, the therapist’s failure to appropriately respond to keep them safe could be a direct cause of the injuries.
Finally, you must have experienced harm or an injury. If your mental healthcare provider makes an error but you are not harmed, you do not have the basis for a malpractice lawsuit. Our Maryland psychiatric malpractice attorney will work with you and other medical professionals to help determine the extent of the mental anguish, distress, or physical harm you endured due to the negligent breach of duty.
Call Our Maryland Psychiatric Malpractice Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Mental health requires treatment, just like your physical wellbeing. When the psychiatrists and mental healthcare professionals you put your trust in make an inexcusable mistake or internationally harm you, you could seek monetary compensation through a lawsuit. Our Maryland psychiatric malpractice lawyer is dedicated to providing those who suffered harm, professional and compassionate legal representation. Call our Maryland personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free consultation and review your case.